Ruckus in Goa House over felling of trees for golf project

 Noisy scenes were witnessed in the Goa Legislative Assembly on Monday after Opposition members alleged that trees were being illegally felled by promoter of an upcoming golf course project in Pernem taluka and demanded formation of a House Committee to study the matter.

PTI| Updated: Aug 03, 2015, 13:27 PM IST

Panaji: Noisy scenes were witnessed in the Goa Legislative Assembly on Monday after Opposition members alleged that trees were being illegally felled by promoter of an upcoming golf course project in Pernem taluka and demanded formation of a House Committee to study the matter.

Independent legislator Rohan Khaunte, who raised the issue during Question Hour, and Congress MLA Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco demanded that the panel be formed to study the matter.

"The golf course is a controversial project. There are issues like existence of a fort in that village and tenancy land. If government is clean, let them form House committee," said Lourenco.

The project by M/s Leading Hotels Private Ltd, coming up at Terecol village, has been facing a stiff opposition from locals and environmentalists who are against its execution.

The opposition members raised their voice when the issue was raised on the floor of House and when Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar was making a statement in support of the project.

The CM said some legislators are raising the issue in the Assembly so as to settle their personal scores.

"I was sympathetic towards the project because Pernem is a rural taluka and there are no projects generating employment there. Goa needs employment and whoever wants to construct the project without affecting environment, I will be supporting it.

"It is the duty of government to save the investment. I will not allow the House to be misused. Some legislators raise the issue on the floor of the house to settle their scores," he said.

However, the opposition MLAs objected to the CM's statement, which led to the heated exchange of words between them and a few of their counterparts from Treasury benches. Earlier, deliberating on the issue, Khaunte told the House the hotel group was using bouncers (musclemen) to create terror in mind of villagers, and that the promoter is cutting the trees without any permission.

State Environment Minister Alina Saldanha confirmed that the hotel group had illegally fell some trees and said they are booked by Forest department.

"They have not been issued any more permission to fell the trees," the minister said.

However, she refused to give an assurance on formation of the House panel as demanded by the opposition.